Today marks 4,000 Days At Sea since I was rated Able Seaman Unlimited in 2000. That's 10.9 years spent on the water as a merchant mariner in 15 1/2 years Holy shit, where does the time go?
That time doesn't count the 1,080 days at sea that I had to accrue to get rated Able, either. This was, of course, back in the day, when there weren't classes you could take to be rated able, and you had to sit for a comprehensive exam, be rated lifeboatman, and then take a practical exam where a chief bosun's mate assigns you splices and knots to show mastery of marlinespike seamanship.
In talking about this earlier, I was asked if I regret not going right into this career as a kid. The honest answer is 'a little.' I LIKED being a marine biologist, and I flatter myself to think I had a certain talent for it in a journeyman fashion. But, for all the lustre that is long gone, this job suits me better, and me it.